A successful 2014 behind her, ace India shuttler Saina Nehwal is now looking for an "even better" outing in the coming year with her eyes trained on 2016 Rio Olympics, besides getting ready to try her hand in coaching.
Lee Chong Wei`s indefinite suspension for a doping violation will cost the Malaysian his top ranking with Chinese world champion Chen Long set to take over on Thursday after his World Superseries Finals triumph in Dubai.
It turned out to be a watershed year for Indian badminton as the home shuttlers clinched no less than eight individual titles and also broke new grounds in team championships, making India a dominant force at the international stage.
Reigning World Champion Chen Long of China demolished Denmark's Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-16, 21-10 to win the men's singles crown of the $1,000,000 Badminton World Federation (BWF) Superseries Finals at the Hamdan Sports Complex here Sunday.
The dream run of top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth came to an end after they suffered contrasting defeats in the semifinals to bring the curtains down on India's campaign at the BWF World Super Series Finals badminton tournament here Saturday.
Dubai: Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal continued her rampaging run to storm into the semifinals of the BWF World Super Series Final, clinching a pulsating three-game thriller against Bae Yeon Ju of Korea here today.
The World No. 4 Indian, a 2011 finalist, bounced back from a game down to notch up a 15-21 21-7 21-17 win over Bae, ranked eighth, in the third and final women's singles round-robin match to top Group A.
It was a contest between two similar players, both of whom believe in grinding it out in the court and the match begun as expected with long rallies consisting of sharp angled drops and smashes.
Saina brought a sort of new-found aggression in her game as she didn't shy away from attacking the nets and tried to dictate the rallies, pushing Bae to commit errors. The Indian girl's game plan worked and she took a 10-4 lead.
The Korean grabbed two points at the nets and followed it up with a brilliant drop to narrow the gap. But soon Saina's deceiving return found Bae napping and she led 11-8 at break.
After the breather, Bae tightened her defence and dug deep in the rallies. She pushed the Indian to make mistakes, to not only clawed back at 14-14 but also win the game when Saina hit wide.
In the second game, Saina once again lead 6-2 early on.
She cut down on her smashes and tried to look for easy points.
Bae, meanwhile, played some exceptional shots to narrow it down to 6-6, but the Korean also committed few unforced errors to allow the Indian reel off five straight points and lead 11-6 at the interval.
Leading 12-6, the duo got engaged in a gruelling rally, consisting of 32 shots and Saina had the last laugh. She continued her dominance after the break, playing patiently to roar back into contest, bagging 15 of the last 16 points.
In the decider, Bae surged ahead to a lead of 5-1. Saina brought out her power smash to break the streak and then finished a long rally with a low lift at the net. Both the players tried to outdo each other but the Korean entered the interval with a slender 11-10 lead.
In a battle of attrition, Saina managed to open up a narrow lead of 15-13, courtesy her never say die attitude and brilliant net play. The Korean hit one wide and Saina then grabbed another point to lead 17-13. The Korean made it 16-19.
Saina, however, didn't delay the inevitable further as she produced two smashes to shut the door on the Korean.
India's top badminton players Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth took a big step on way to reaching the semifinals at the World Super Series Finals by securing second consecutive wins in their respective group here on Thursday.
Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal dished out a dominating performance to post a straight-game win over two-time All England Champion Shixian Wang of China and start her campaign on a positive note at the season-ending BWF's World Super Series badminton final, here on Wednesday.
Top seed H S Prannoy and unseeded junior shuttler Ruthvika Shivani Gadde clinched the men's and women's singles titles respectively in the USD 25,000 Tata Open India International Challenge badminton tournament, here on Sunday.
She clinched three individual titles and a couple of bronze medals at prestigious team events this season but far from satiated, ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal feels she could have garnered more trophies had it not been for some missed opportunities.
Top seed H S Prannoy and fourth seed R M V Gurusaidutt entered the men's singles final of the Tata Open India International Challenge badminton tournament with straight-game semi-final victories here on Saturday.
Top seed H S Prannoy entered the men's singles quarter-finals, but women's second seed Tanvi Lad was knocked out of the USD 15,000 Tata Open India International Challenge Badminton tournament, here on Thursday.
Badminton `powerhouse` Malaysia lamented their absence from next week`s $1 million Super Series Masters Finals in Dubai and warned the current crop of shuttlers to buck up their ideas or risk being axed.
It has been a decent year for P V Sindhu with a bronze medal finish at the World Championships and retaining Macau Open title, but the young shuttler is keen to work harder on various aspects of her game and put up better performances against top players in the coming year.